Holidays are like sleep; problems don’t seem so big after a good night’s sleep. There is a saying that goes “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”. It is time to walk or drive to be together and enjoy the beauty of our country. We always went places where our children could have fun for free, a beach, forest or playpark. One time we even saw elephants without going to the zoo. We just parked alongside a field, where a circus was letting the animals graze.
One may think he cannot afford to take a holiday. We have found God is faithful to provide the money we needed for holidays.
Psalm 23 says The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul.
When Brendan and I got married in June 1971 we went on honeymoon to Southend to visit relatives. We got the ferry overnight to Liverpool and then the train to London. It was the first time I was in England. When we returned to Ireland we did not go immediately to our new home but hitch hiked to Donegal and travelled around having an adventure until our money ran out.
The adventure of our lives has continued till this day. Travelling did not hinder us when we had children. We were interested in community living and we heard about people who lived together in Findhorn in the north of Scotland. I got some money from teaching. We headed off the next day with two children to Scotland. We travelled by boat, bus or hitch hiked.
Our travels took us through Glasgow, Inverness, Aberdeen, Dundee and Edinburgh. Isn’t it interesting that seven of our children have gone to university in the same towns we visited back then? Scripture says he will give us the ground where our feet shall trod. We did not stay in the community. We returned home and grew our own community!
Each summer we would always plan to go on holiday. For a few years when we had three children we went on summer youth camps as volunteers. We got to have a holiday and got paid for it.
Corrymeela is holiday centre in north Antrim, hosting families on holidays from troubled areas of Northern Ireland. A lady who worked there offered us a holiday. Our family was growing but that did not deter us. I think we went there about three years running.
When we had seven children Brendan bought a car, a Peuguot 505. We felt so blessed. Brendan and I decided that year to venture out on our own as a family and rent a holiday home. We were talking together and Brendan asked me, “Where would you like to go on holiday”. I had a desire to go to Kerry. Brendan heard of an organisation called the Full Gospel Business Men. He had one of their booklets. He looked it up to see if there was anyone in Kerry who organised meetings. He got in touch with the leader and asked him to look out for a house for us.
I was expecting my eighth child. We headed off with the car full, Brendan myself and seven children. The house was a dream. Plenty of rooms, washing machines, showers, and rainbows outside. Our children loved the space. Kerry is famous for milk and golden butter. In the field beside the holiday house our children got a close up view of the black and white cows and heard the sounds of them tearing and munching on the grass.
We attended prayer meetings in our friend’s home. I was praising The Lord and dancing. People were afraid I would go into labour. My son John held on for another two weeks. We have been going to Kerry since, over the past twenty seven years. We have made many friends and were always warmly received and blessed. It became an oasis for us from the troubled North each July.
We are just back from a week’s holiday in a house quite near the mouth of the River Shannon. We never went to Kerry for the sun. Normally it rains, but this year we had wall to wall sunshine. It was as good as being in Greece without the flights and expense.